What is Survivor’s Guilt?

What is Survivor’s Guilt?
Survivor's guilt is a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder and is common in those returning from combat. (Source: {WBRC})

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Lots of people are traveling today, or just relaxing and enjoying a day off. But for many, it’s a day to remember those who served and did not come home.

But what about those who did come home? Many suffer what’s known as survivor’s guilt, and it’s a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“A lot of times you hear people say that our veterans aren’t remembered enough or they aren’t respected enough but, there’s more love shown today than there used to be,” says Dennis Gibbs.

Gibbs is an Army Veteran. He served two tours in Iraq and was awarded the Purple Heart.

"I was wounded by a roadside bomb, an IED. I received shrapnel in the left knee, the ribs and the back of my head."

Gibbs also suffers from PTSD. He gets counseling and attends peer support groups and has help from his family. Though he doesn’t consider himself suffering from survivor’s guilt, he says there is an even greater issue more common in the military.

"I feel like a piece of me is still there, like that's always going to be home. And when you live for 12 months, six months, 18 months in a full paced adrenaline every day, that becomes who you are. So when you come back, I don't know how to be this way. I'm much more comfortable in a combat situation."

But from someone who is getting help, he offers this advice if you or someone close to you is struggling.

“And as many roadblocks as you may hit, talk to a fellow veteran most of all. Find someone that you know and feel is a brother or a sister in arms. And don’t feel like you’re stuck in a situation that you can’t get out of.”

Experts say it’s important to give yourself time to grieve. They also recommend sticking to a daily routine, and take care of yourself mentally and physically.

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